Thallium Scan: Procedure and Side Effects of Thallium Scan

Thallium Scan

A thallium scan is an effective way to find out the blood supply to a localized area. By and large, it is used to diagnose CAD or coronary artery disease.

Thallium Scan Test

The thallium test helps measure blood flow to the muscles of the heart and determines whether brain is receiving sufficient amount of blood.

Thallium is a radio-active substance, utilized in a tiny quantity, to scrutinize the heart. Special cameras take pictures of the area. Areas having an abnormal flow of blood become evident in the scan.

The test is carried out when the patient has fully rested and after a strenuous physical activity. The test establishes the blood flow during periods of rest and stress.

Thallium Scan Procedure

  • Thallium is administered intravenously. It tends to localize in the heart muscles and then images are captured via special cameras.
  • The test is carried out in 2 parts. The patient is administered thallium while he is on a treadmill; this helps assess the condition when he is under stress.
    Thallium highlights the areas that are receiving inadequate blood flow.
  • Next, thallium is given when the patient is at rest.
  • Gamma-scintillation cameras are used to carry out the scan.
  • The patient is asked not consume caffeinated beverages.
  • Electrodes are attached to the body, and they help monitor the patient’s vital signs.

Thallium Scan Side Effects

  • Thallium is a radio-active metal, thus, if it is given in high doses, the patient can go in a state of coma. However, this is relatively rare.
  • Thallium may induce nausea and vomiting
  • Some complain of breathlessness and gasping, headaches, elevated blood pressure and body pain.
  • The test is not recommended for pregnant women, since; thallium is injurious for the fetus.